Breaking News
Engineering Pop Culture!

Engineeringís Three Rules: Document, Document, Document

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
DrQuine
User Rank
CEO
Creation and retrieval of documentation
DrQuine   5/16/2014 4:47:00 PM
NO RATINGS
The challenge of documentation is that it is usually intended for retrieval in the future. This means that the effort of documentation has little immediate reward and the future retrieval depends upon maintaining access integrity through time. Three ring binders are bulky and hard to search but admirable in their accessible user interface through time, changing computer software, and operating system. Computer files must be created in a format for which future access is assured and the files must be rolled ahead to each new generation of the storage system.  They must also be preserved in a way that is obvious to others.  Most computers are reused or retired when their owners retire or pass away. Few files are effectively captured and mined for the corporate benefit. Lab books are visible which at least forces somebody to consciously decide whether to preserve or discard them. Someday, our ability to create data will be matched by our ability to mine it. In the meantime, most recollections of previous solutions depend upon the memory of the inventor; the documentation merely fills in the fine details. The next generation has little hope of mining the digital records of their predecessors. 

spike_johan
User Rank
Rookie
Engineering Documentation
spike_johan   5/16/2014 3:54:55 PM
NO RATINGS
There is a saying in the engineering world - specifically test engineering - "If you didn't write it down, you didn't do it."

 

betajet
User Rank
CEO
"Hello, this is Deadly Binders, Inc. How may I injure you?"
betajet   5/16/2014 2:21:13 PM
NO RATINGS
I use a lot of 3-ring binders, so many it's hard to store them all.  I don't use them for everything.  For day-to-day notes and planning, I far prefer college-ruled composition books with "granite" covers.  They're a nice size, light, and easy to take on public transportation.  I carry them everywhere.

I'm also a strong believer in documentation -- the earlier the better.  When I'm working on something new and don't know what I'm doing yet, the notebook is excellent.  However, once I can start to describe it I find that writing it up using a document editor is a great way to get the ideas filled in, and it becomes the first draft of the eventual documentation.  The hard copy goes in binders.

I find it very hard to proof-read on a screen.  I always find errors after printing out on paper.

IMO everyone should print hard copy listings of their software and technical references.  If doing so creates so much paper that you can't manage, then your design approach clearly needs to be reconsidered.

JMO/YMMV

zeeglen
User Rank
Blogger
Write everything down - absolutely everything.
zeeglen   5/16/2014 9:14:37 AM
NO RATINGS
The days of bound engineering lab notebooks (for patent purposes) that would no longer close due to being stuffed full of Polaroid scope photos are long gone, binders do help solve this.

These days keep all your design notes and measurements on a computer.  This way you can search for some long-forgotten entry based on a vaguely remembered keyword, and disseminate your notes through email instead of a photocopier. (Patent lawyers might not agree with this philosophy, makes it too easy to fake the dates.)

The main thing is to write everything down.  You never know what you may need at some future time.

wave.forest
User Rank
Manager
Very nice
wave.forest   5/16/2014 8:05:03 AM
NO RATINGS
Document the first project, document the new job, document everything new will save you a lot of time and hassles.

<<   <   Page 2 / 2
More Blogs from Engineering Pop Culture!
This Indiegogo fundraiser is for a Tesla museum in his decaying lab in Shoreham, N.Y.
Perhaps this is the natural order of business -- Darwinism and RadioShack's impending demise open the door wider for companies like SparkFun and Adafruit to grow.
This collection of places from technology history, museums, and modern marvels is a roadmap for an engineering adventure that will take you around the world.
A future engineering student gives his advice on making the most of the time-honored tradition of the college visits road trip.
Manufacturing engineer Jeremy Cook discusses a few machine failure problems that seemed complicated at the onset, but were quite simple to solve in the end, and the lessons he learned.
Radio
NEXT UPCOMING BROADCAST
How to Cope with a Burpy Comet
October 17, 2pm EDT Friday
EE Times Editorial Director Karen Field interviews Andrea Accomazzo, Flight Director for the Rosetta Spacecraft.
August Cartoon Caption Winner!
August Cartoon Caption Winner!
"All the King's horses and all the KIng's men gave up on Humpty, so they handed the problem off to Engineering."
5 comments
Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Flash Poll